by Christina Dalcher

Paperback, 2019




Berkley (2019), Edition: Reprint, 352 pages


On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her. This is just the beginning. Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard. For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.


½ (392 ratings; 3.5)

Media reviews

Subtlety is not a concern here, and the theme of “wake up!” is hammered home so vigorously that it can feel hectoring. “Not your fault,” a man says to Jean. “But it is,” she thinks. “My fault started two decades ago, the first time I didn’t vote … was too busy to go on [a
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march].” It’s of a piece with the preposterous setup, the payoff-heavy writing and the casual appropriation of some of humanity’s most heinous instruments of oppression – labour camps, electrified restraints – in the service of a thriller. If Dalcher wants to scare people into waking up, she would do better to send them back to the history books, rather than forward into an overblown, hastily imagined future.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member jmchshannon
I said last week that I was most likely going to skip to the last few chapters to see how Ms. Dalcher’s novel ends, and that is what I did. I am thankful that I did not do anything more than that because the ending made me just as angry as the first half of the book did. The end is entirely
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unsatisfactory; the main character gets her happy ending, but that is about it. The sweeping changes that need to happen to society at large are only in the fledgling stages when the novel closes, so while Jean obtains freedoms for her children and herself, the women in the United States still face the same persecutions. The fact that there is a new government in place and changes in the works should be enough to satisfy the reader. It did not satisfy THIS reader, and I remain pissed at the entire premise. I know others love Vox and think it is a heart-pounding cautionary tale. However, I see it more as someone capitalizing on the sentiments of the current administration to tell a story. Jean is not a sympathetic character and is not a good symbol for every woman. Plus, out of every dystopian scenario in existence, this is one I cannot believe. So, if you are as angry as I am these days, this might be one you want to skip. There are too many issues with the characters and the story, and the premise of the story is not the necessary distraction from real-world concerns.
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LibraryThing member bookwormteri
Holy crap. This book is terrifying. Especially in today's political climate. Doesn't feel so speculative so much as a glimpse into a possible future. I have already bought three copies and plan to hand them out to my friends.

Women only have 100 words a day before the counter on their wrists begin
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to shock them per word. But why would they need more words than that? They can't work, only are schooled in the arts that they might need to take care of their families, or will work in a camp unless some male in their family can take them in. What could a woman possibly have to say that could be so important?
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LibraryThing member Luminous-Path
Wants to be The Handmaid's Tale so badly that it becomes a laughably inept imitation.

I should have known the moment I cracked open my Kindle and this book was in first person present tense, with a monotone narrator. In THT, it turns out this is because our narrator is experiencing PTSD from being
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forced into ritualized rape with the purpose of turning her into a living incubator, under threat of torture and death. That's some serious shit.

In Vox, it's clear the author wants us to see that Jean is experiencing a similar shock reaction to her own admittedly horrific captivity of enforced silence under threat of torture and death yadda yadda. But it doesn't work. Atwood makes us feel the nameless narrator's horrors viscerally. In Vox, we understand the horror, but its depths never really horrify enough, even though they should.

That may be in part due to the stupidest choice the author makes: a 100% happy fucking ending. Its not even bittersweet, because the book kills off its only complex character so that Jean and Lorenzo can be together. And it rescues everyone important to Jean and everyone she thought would be dead. Yay! They're all alive and back from the salt mines, none the worse for wear!

Gag me with a spoon.

Let's list the things the author ripped off from THT, at least the ones I remember off the top of my head, since I'm typing on a phone

1. Christian right wing extremist revolution with fascist implementation of extremist values such as strict patriarchy and an emphasis on marriage, babies, and women's silence.

2. Dissenters and LGBT are sent off to inhospitable wastelands for hard labor, as are unmarried women with no family to live with.

3. The Resistance, and the narrator accidentally falling into it.

4. Having a lover on the side for dangerous trysts.

5. Jackie = Moira. Straight ripoff. Entire character and storyline.

6. Sneaking and breaking into the man of the house's papers and secrets.

Meh. And the plot...feck it goes off the rails. It could have been so interesting. But author glosses over so many details to the point that I just finished the book and I have no idea how or why the climax went the way it did. Like who had what vial/serum at what time and how they got it, etc.

And Jean's mom suffering the same exact brain injury at the same time? In the end, that meant NOTHING. It didn't affect Jean's behavior or decisions at all. So I thought it would be a straight up plot device, like the Bad Guys had intentionally poisoned Jean's mom to make sure Jean would work for them. Nope. Just a coinkydink! Sigh. Fiction does not have coincidences without a reason.

Another time, her teenage son Steven rats out his girlfriend to the Gestapo for sleeping with him and gets her sent to zero words hard labor for life. Smooth move, ex lax. Jean's reaction? Basically nothing. Dude, your son just became a fucking monster, and you CAN yell at him without punishment because you're working on this top secret serum, but she does basically nothing...and Steven comes back from evil by the end of the book...somehow. Its not made clear. Oh, and he's almost a straight ripoff from The Sound of Music. But worse, because he sleeps with his girlfriend and then TURNS HER IN FOR IT. But don't worry; she's magically back at the end of the book! Yay!

Ugh. At least Atwood's protagonist was an unreliable narrator and we can forgive some of the weirdness. But we are not given any reason to think Jean is an unreliable narrator. She's just flat, like every other character. And like this book.
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LibraryThing member readbybrit
I really enjoyed the concept and I was excited to read this but it definitely was not everything I thought it was going to be. Great idea but not the greatest execution. I wish everything had been expanded on and more developed and it would have made a great novel.

The characters were weak and I
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generally didn’t care about most of them, and the ones I did we didn’t get to learn much more about them at all and they ended up more as stick figures just acting in our plot without any actual substance or personality. Our main character, Jean, was one of the only ones who was truly really fleshed out throughout the entirety of the novel. Jean has four children, Sophia, Stephen, and two twin boys who were truly so useless to not only the novel but Jean’s life, that I can’t even remember their names and I only finished this book last week at the time of writing this. Some of our characters started off super strong and interesting and then completely diminished into dust near the end of the novel and it was disappointing. Lastly, we had quite a few characters who were so one-dimensional and flat that did a complete 180 by the end of the novel but without any visible development and it was absolutely jarring. They had no visible development. We just turned the page and found our one-dimensional character still very one dimensional just with a completely different set of morals and values and no explanation as to how or why they changed. Also, we really got the point that Lorenzo has a fancy coffee maker. We get it.

The plot started off very strong but about 75% of the way through it just lost all steam and everything seemed rushed and smashed together, leaving nearly everything to the imagination. A vast majority of the issues and complaints and questions I have all come back to the last 25% of the novel. Prior to this point, I was reading and expecting a four star read but the ending was so sloppy it heavily effected my enjoyment of the novel.

Mainly, I feel had everything been developed more, this could have been a FANTASTIC novel. That being said, I did give this book 3 stars and I really did enjoy the concept. I would recommend it, just go in with lower expectations.
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LibraryThing member hubblegal
There have been some rather extreme changes made here in the United States. Women must wear a bracelet-type counter that allows them only 100 words a day. If they go over their quota, they receive a horrendous electrical shock. Even the written word or sign language is punishable. Women can no
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longer hold jobs and girls are not being taught how to read or write but only are taught how to cook and sew. Dr. Jean McClellan is the narrator of this book. She’s a mother of four and the wife of a man who she believes is too passive about the whole issue. She regrets not taking action before this all started. She no longer has a voice with which to fight.

Before all of these changes, Jean was a cognitive linguist working on a cure for aphasia, the loss of the ability to understand or express speech caused by brain damage. All of her research stopped when women’s rights were taken away. But now the President’s brother is suffering from brain damage and Jean is asked to resume her work.

The only fault I had with this book is that at times it felt too much like “The Handmaid’s Tale”. There are so many similar restrictions. But I felt that the writer does a very good job in telling this story and Jean is a very believable narrator. The added interest comes from Sonia, Jean’s 6-year-old daughter, who doesn’t remember what it’s like to be able to speak freely. There’s one terribly frightening scene involving Sonia that really made the whole book seem so real and possible. It’s one thing to have your own rights taken away but entirely another when it involves your innocent child. The way the schools were now teaching young girls was so tragic.

Interesting story told in a realistic manner. Recommended.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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LibraryThing member CherylGrimm
Vox by Christina Dalcher

Every female, once they can talk, has been fitted with a counter around their wrist to keep track of the words they speak. Every day, 100 words are allowed. Should they exceed that, an electrical shock is automatically administered, increasing with every incident. Cameras
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are installed to monitor any form of alternate communication, such as sign language, writing, mouthing. Books are removed. Computers and most TV stations locked away. Even their mail is secured in that only the husband or proper-aged son can retrieve it. Women are to be pure, domestic angels, content at home, tending children, husband and simple maintenance. They no longer work outside their house, no matter what their field was. They cannot leave the country. The young are taught in school how to properly run a household

This is what happens when the Bible Belt “started expanding. It morphed from belt to corset” and then finally “into an Iron Maiden.”

Dr Jean McClellan was considered the best neurolinguistin the country, leading research into a serum that could reverse many brain afflictions. The fact that she “was” does not bode well for either her or her husband, who is head of science at the big DC oval. Jean is the mother of 4, the youngest is a girl, fitted with her own counter and suffering nightmares. It has been a year. Other nations both laugh at and feel for the horrendous injustice of American women.

Jean’s eldest son is wholly besotted with this new normal, brainwashed and rising in the ranks of “Pure Men” as he takes on duties and his own form of servitude. Added to typical teenage ‘tude, he’s a pompous little shit I’d smack if I could.

When the president younger brother is stricken with some form of as yet to be deciphered brain trauma, she is called back into service, her bracelet removed, and anything and everything she needs to be supplied until he is cured. After that, the future is again uncertain.

But every government has an anti and this misogynistic dictatorship meets their nemesis, one at a time, in a climatic ending that I felt could have been given as much detail as that which preempted it.

A dystopian novel with a love story tucked inside, heroes blinking into providence and bonds unto death they part.
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LibraryThing member Cherylk
I have mixed feelings about this book. Which in a way can be a good thing as it means that the book is unforgettable. This book holds promise, it just did not execute. Where it was lacking are the characters. They were not that interesting at all. In where the characters lacked the words, they
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should have been able to make up with their personalities. The family that is the main focus in this story could have been really endearing if I could have found that connection.

Thus in turn the story itself was not as interesting as it should have been. The story needed the characters to help it find its "voice". It goes to show however that sometimes you don't need a lot of words to make a point. Finally, the ending was alright. There was no "wow" power. Again, this book could have been so much more.
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LibraryThing member kgramer
3.5 stars. I really liked the premise of this book. On the one hand, it's hard to believe something like this could happen in the US. On the other hand, it's terrifyingly believable that this is the direction our country might be going in. It sucked me in and I had didn't want to put it down until
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I found out what happened. While overall I enjoyed it, at times it was a little convoluted and it seemed like there was too much going on.
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LibraryThing member mzonderm
Imagine that a new President has been elected with the help of the extreme Christian right. So extreme, and so powerful, that they reverse over a hundred years of women's rights, and worse. Women are limited to 100 words a day, enforced by a "bracelet" they wear that administers worsening electric
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shocks for every word over the limit. Dalcher doesn't waste much time on the details of how this came about, which is fine, as they're largely beside the point for the purposes of her story. But, every time I caught myself saying "this is just too unbelievable - that would never happen here," I reminded myself that that's been said by other people at other times and places in history, and it could, and it did.

As for this book, though, comparisons to The Handmaid's Tale are inevitbale, but Vox has a different ambition. Dalcher doesn't pull her punches when it comes to the details of women's subjugation in the new regime, but the story focuses on a small group of people who suddenly realize that they can change everything.

Even that isn't the real point, though. Dalcher also pulls no punches in getting her message across. Everyone: use your voice. While you still can.
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LibraryThing member JJbooklvr
A tough book to read set in a world that seems all too real in today's political climate. All I can say is I used way more than 100 words and they were rather colorful ones as well.
LibraryThing member miss.mesmerized
Woman – the root of all evil. Therefore, under the new POTUS, women are confined to the house, forbidden to work, thy only have to care for their husbands and children, and most importantly, they aren’t allowed to speak more than one hundred words a day. “Bracelet” is what they call the
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device which counts their words and sends electronic shocks in case they exceed the set number. Dr. Jean McClelland, once a successful and renowned scientist, sees her life limited in a major way and she regrets all the marches she hasn’t taken part in, the petitions she hasn’t signed and the signs she has misinterpreted. When the president’s brother has an almost fatal accident, the most capable doctor is needed, thus Jean unexpectedly comes into the position of possibly setting conditions and finding a way out of her once beloved home country.

In many respects, this dystopia is highly disturbing. Not just because of what is narrated and imagining what happens there, but because you can easily reckon how such a situation might become a reality. Even though we believe to live in a world where men and women are equal and where women have gained their place in work and society, a group of men feeling deprived of their rights of superiority and therefore doing everything to turn back the time, is simple to picture.

I had heard a lot about Christina Dalcher’s novel and quite often, if too many people praise a book I become increasingly reluctant of agreeing. Yet, in this case, I totally consent to the majority of readers. The plot is very well developed, the characters seem absolutely authentic to me and the author’s style of writing is captivating. I especially appreciated how Jean’s eldest son is brainwashed, not for the fact itself, but as a convincing illustration of how easily people can fall prey to false prophets and walk right in the trap. Dalcher gets to the core with her protagonist, she has to make decisions that nobody wants to make and each reader has to answer for him- or herself which side they would be on and, first and foremost, what they do in reality to prevent such developments from happening.
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LibraryThing member Dreesie
This dystopian novel has a lot of great ideas. The United States has a president who institutes the "Purity Movement". Women are not allowed to read, or write, or get the mail, or work, or speak more than 100 words per day. Their wrist counter keeps track. Girls and boys go to separate schools.
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Girls are taught useful skills like cooking and math (because it is needed for things like cooking). They are still not to speak, everything must be memorized. It's frightening and Dalcher does a good job creating this world.

Nowhere can I find mention of this book being YA. But that's what it reads like--which is fine, but YA is, by definition, easier to read. Dalcher's ideas are excellent, but they are not fleshed out--there is so much more I want to know! This book is listed as being 326 pages long. With these ideas fleshed out at an adult reading level, it could have been 500 pages and been excellent. There are several loose story lines that I would love to have seen integrated into the main story more effectively, and then resolved. There are many twists in here, and they come out of left field. No build up, just "guess what!"

All in all, this novel started off with lots of promise. But then it is rushed to a conclusion way too quickly.
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LibraryThing member Strider66
Pros: very fast paced, emotional punch, thought-provoking

Cons: minor things, slightly rushed ending

A year ago life changed for 50% of the US population. Women were kicked out of the workforce and made to wear bracelets that counted their words. When they reached their cap of 100 words, they
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received an electric jolts of increasing intensity until they stopped talking. Members of the LGBT community were shipped off to ‘camps’.

A year ago Dr. Jean McClellan was a top cognitive linguist researching Wernicke’s aphasia, an ailment that makes it difficult to form coherent sentences. Now she’s a stay at home wife, slowly watching her marriage crumble, her daughter suffer under the word restrictions, and her oldest son become a misogynist.

When the President’s brother has an accident that affects the Wernicke area of the brain, she’s asked to help find a cure, little knowing that there’s another reason the government wants her work.

The book is very fast paced and only look me 2 days to whip through. It’s first person narrative makes the world immediate and the clever use of flashbacks fleshes out the characters and how the US changed so quickly.

Loss of freedom is always an interesting plot device, and this book touches on real fears American women have during the present political climate. The book joins other US dystopian novels that focus on how women could be repressed like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Veracity by Laura Bynum, and When She Woke by Hilary Jordan.

There are some powerfully emotional scenes, some of which were rage inducing, while others made me want to cry. While I often didn’t agree with Jean’s choices, I could understand why she made those decisions and sympathized with her plight.

While the book explained that Wernicke’s aphasia impairs the ability to speak coherently, it would have been good to point out that it doesn’t always impair cognitive abilities outside of communication. I was left wondering if people who had it would be able to function or if they would have to be put into care homes.

There were a few minor issues that annoyed me, like cookbooks being banned when you would expect they would be needed. You can’t remember every recipe or learn new ones without some sort of help. There’s also a scene where Jean had just under 40 words remaining in her day and she had to make a phone call. She prepared her message in advance but used her whole allotment, even though several of the words she used were unnecessary. What if she’d had to respond to a question afterwards? She’d have had to stay silent.

The ending felt a bit rushed in that I would have liked a more complete telling of what happened. I understand why it wasn’t comprehensive, but it felt like the author could have provided an alternate viewpoint or arranged to have a witness describe the event in more detail.

It’s hard to call a book that does so many horrible things a pleasant read, but it was. Normally dystopian novels leave me horrified by how things could go in the real world while this one left me feeling energized, and feeling that the resistance can succeed if good people fight for their rights.
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LibraryThing member Twink
You’ve read The Handmaids Tale and you're caught up on the last episode of the series. Now what? Here’s one that might fill the bill - Vox by Christina Dalcher.

It’s not hard to imagine a future (present or past) where women’s lives are controlled by men. And how is that control achieved in
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Vox? By language - the lack of, to be precise. In Vox women are only allowed 100 words a day. They wear a silver band on their wrist that shocks them if they go over that limit, increasing in voltage with every word above the limit. It's all part of a return to 'traditional values'. "Pure"

Jeanne McClellan was a neurolinguist before her voice was taken away. It is only when the new president needs a cure for his brother that her bracelet is taken off and she’s brought in to resume work on her research - restoring language to brain-damaged individuals. But with every suppression...there's resistance. Vox details a time in the near future that isn't too hard to imagine.

I enjoyed Dalcher's world building. And yes, it's not much of a stretch to see the traditional value, male dominated society. Dalcher herself has worked in the linguistics field and that knowledge gave the plot depth and detail. There's lots of action as the tension ramps up to the final 'showdown'. The author has created a good cast of characters in both Jeanne and supporting players. I did find myself more drawn to those supporters though, instead of Jeanne. I didn't agree with some of her decisions or treatment of other resistance members.

Some developments and plot directions seemed a bit quick, if you will. There were points where I felt there should be more plausibility built in. But, on reading the publisher's notes, I learned that Vox was written in two months - which is pretty darn amazing.

There's lots of food for thought in Vox, mirroring many of today's news headlines. I was thoroughly entertained by Vox and would be curious to see what Dalcher writes next. (And that cover is great isn't it?!)
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LibraryThing member thewanderingjew
Vox, Christina Dalcher, author; Julia Whelan, narrator
In this book, the women have been subjugated by men. It seems that they have protested one too many times, have marched once too often, have demanded far too much equality and too much of a voice in the way society is being run. The men have
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grown more and more frustrated with the women’s movement’s effort to marginalize them. Under the leadership of President Sam Myers (Is he Jewish? All religions are demonized in some way, in this book, so perhaps he is.), who followed the first black President into the White House (Guess who?), the clock is rolled back and women are forced to stop communicating on all levels. They have defiantly created a system in which the women are totally restrained. Even sign language is forbidden. They are forced to wear “bracelets” which count and register the number of words they speak each day. Going over the quota of 100 words a day will result in painful electric shocks which vary in severity depending on the scope of the violation. They have lost most of their rights to be independent and to be educated. They are an exaggerated version of The Stepford Wife. More quickly than anyone thought possible, homosexuals and lesbians are imprisoned, adultery is otlawed, schools are reorganized to teach females household skills, cooking and sewing. Only male children receive a full education, including the three “R’s”. All females become voiceless. In school, the curriculum now includes a huge dose of religious teaching to guide the young men and women into their futures. There is a new world order, although no one had ever really believed it would come to pass.
Although, activists for women’s rights had tried to warn the public about what was coming, the threat to the women had been ignored and dismissed as unrealistic, impossible, until it was too late. The activists had seen the writing on the wall and knew there was going to be an effort to silence them, but their efforts to stop the trend were to no avail. With disbelief, the world watched as policy after policy was adopted in America, to not only actually silence women, but to punish them for behavior the men deemed to be improper. The plan, which was diabolical, was largely designed by and widely supported by the church.
This is really a creative novel, but there is not even a veiled attempt to hide the partisanship of the author’s message. She even alludes to the Kool-Aid drinkers, made famous by Rush Limbaugh. They are of course the ones who are deluded. They are on the far-right. They are conservatives who overvalue their religious beliefs. They are the troublemakers shutting down conversation. (Although today, those on the left are actually shutting down conversation and preventing the free exchange of ideas with their need for safe spaces, the author never suggests that.) The reader learns that the renegade President, Sam Myers, built a wall along the borders of Canada and Mexico, making it just as hard for Americans to leave the country as it is for immigrants to enter it. Women have no passports and can not legally leave the country or travel to another. (Subtly, even immigration has reared its ugly head in this novel. Of course, everyone today knows who wants to build the wall. This author implies that it is Trump who is responsible for taking away the rights of women.)
President Myers relies heavily on the military (as does Trump) and his older brother for support and advice. Family is important to him. This new “young” President (perhaps the “young” description is an attempt by the author to soften her partisanship), has a beautiful wife. It is hinted that his wife is sequestered when not in public. It is hinted that she suffers with the restrictions of the bracelet counters and its consequences, as well. (The author’s description of the wife, reminded me of the stories that journalists wrote that insinuated that Melania Trump, who had not been seen for awhile, was being physically abused by her husband, when she was actually undergoing surgery.)
President Myers is being advised by a religious leader, Reverend Carl Corbin who dreams of a world of “pure” men and “pure” women. He will surely remind the readers of Tomas de Torquemada, the first inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. (Perhaps the author’s attempt to demonize religion was her quiet attempt to jab at Vice President Pence whose dedication to his religious beliefs over science has been well publicized and criticized by the left and the media.) In this book, the heroes use scientific research to try and defeat the religious fanaticism. In this new America, journalism and news no longer exist. Entertainment has been regulated. (These issues might be another possible suggestion that this evil President is fashioned after Trump. He has, after all, labeled much of the news media and entertainment world as biased and fake.)
Today, under President Trump, there is a non stop cry to resist and oppose him and anyone associated with him, regardless of what he or they accomplish. He has been painted as unhinged. Since the book promotes the very word resistance as a positive tool for the left to use against the right, even suggesting the use of violence to stop them, it would seem that the author is comparing and contrasting the villainous Myers to Trump, a man she views as villainous. (After all, isn’t Trump’s administration attempting to confirm a Supreme Court Justice that the left believes will curtail women’s rights, especially their right to choose?) Yet, if truth be told, hasn't it been the left and those that support the liberal agenda that has used violence to silence the voices of those that disagree with them?
Dr. Jean McClellan was told that the President’s older brother suffered brain damage in an accident, making him unable to speak coherently. She was asked to return to work in the lab to develop a cure for his condition. Before she lost her job and was silenced, she was one of the foremost authorities on the subject of aphasia. The authorities gave her a very short window of time for this research. As a bonus, the word counter would be removed temporarily while she worked. After she successfully discovered the cure, however, it would be returned to her wrist. In the meantime, other scientists were attempting to develop a drug to do the opposite, to cause rather than cure aphasia. That drug would be used to silence women and eliminate the need for the "bracelet" counters. It would cause them to speak in unintelligible sentences by damaging the Wernicke area of the brain responsible for fluent speech. Dr. McClellan’s husband Patrick worked in this White House that was rolling back women’s rights, and although he did not support the draconian methods, he seemed unable to do anything about them.
The narrator does a very good job of interpreting each character. The book presents the overarching theme that resistance is good, and should be encouraged, even if it calls for violence. In the real world, it is the progressives, not the conservatives being blamed, that do the loudest yelling and are shutting down the voices of those who disagree with them. They are unwilling to have a dialogue with them. There is also a theme that seems to be presenting women as superior, and men as cruel, weak, and sometimes no more than useful idiots. Since speech was a central theme, I found it disheartening that the author used crude vocabulary throughout the book. There was an unnecessary emphasis on sex. Were the women meant to be presented as preoccupied with thoughts of infidelity and promiscuity? Other themes support science as good and faith and religious dogma as evil. The enemies of women and equality live in the Bible Belt. There is a woman in the book, Jeannie’s friend, Jacky Juarez, who is a jailed women’s rights activist and lesbian. She is Hispanic (She is a perfect symbol.). She reminded me of Carmen Perez who was one of the organizers of the women’s march on the White house led also by the likes of Linda Sarsour. Perez worships Harry Belafonte, who is an avowed socialist.
Do the readers realize what is happening in the real world? Do they realize that voices are truly being silenced, but it is not those of women? The voices on the right are being silenced. Those with an opposing view are being silenced. The left is silencing them in the media, in the entertainment world and in the schools at all levels, even as they blame others for their own sins, and no one is taking it seriously, as no one took warnings in the book seriously. It doesn’t fit the agenda of the day.
Although the book is supposed to be about a fictional world, perhaps in the not too distant future, it seems to be hinting, with not very subtle accusations, that the current President and his administration are both usurping power and overstepping boundaries that might very well turn the clock back to a time when women were only supposed to stay at home and act like Donna Reed, serving the needs of their husbands and their family, over their own. If only the author had been content to write a good story and refrained from putting her hand on the scale in an attempt to make a political point. No one side should have been blamed for the plight of the women. The problem should have been expressed and analyzed, encouraging conversation so that a real dialogue could develop which might help to solve problems, not create them. This book feels like a propaganda tool for the liberals who will love it.
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LibraryThing member ericlee
In the near future, a populist demagogue comes to power in America and rolls back decades of progress on women's rights. In the end, women are forced to wear bracelets which limit the number of words they can say in a day -- speak more than 100 words and you get an electric shock. The more you
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speak, the more powerful the shock. Gays are imprisoned, and anyone who resists the new order is sent off to labour camps. In other words, Vox is a satire of Trumpian America. One reviewer has called it a re-imagining of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, but to me it reads more like a re-working of Sinclair Lewis' classic novel from 1935, It Can't Happen Here. Like Lewis' book, this one focusses on a family divided by the rise of a uniquely American kind of fascism. There are the children who are raised to be little monsters by the state, unrecognisable to their parents. And there is -- thankfully -- the Resistance. Dystopian fiction without a resistance of any kind, such as George Orwell's 1984, can be unbearably painful to read. Vox is an excellent book that deserves a wide readership.
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LibraryThing member Beamis12
3.5 The Scarlet letter for the near future, but instead of s Puritan society and the red letter A, we have a society where the Christian right has prevailed. Women, even babies are fitted with a leather wristband that limits the words spoken in a day to a hundred. The first time you go over, one
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receives a small shock, strength of shock is increased with each transgression. 1984, only it is now, cameras are fitted in each house, front door, back door. Books are locked up, only able to be accessed by men. No jobs, home in their new responsibility, duties of a wife and mother. The LGBT community fares even worse. This is the pure movement in the US and no one who transgresses is spared.

I found this chilling because I can actually see this happening, have seen men on TV who I can imagine loving just such a scenario. The importance of language, speech to snow individuals we'll bring, forming personalities. How can you watch your young daughter not able to vocalize, tell you about her day? For Jesn, it is torture, but a situation arises, and unwillingly Jean is temporarily repreived, because the men in charge want something from her. Can she take advantage, make a difference? Well, that is the story, a quick moving one I was fascinated with. History has proven that with the wrong people in charge, anything and everything can happen. Can it happen here?

ARC from Netgalley.
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LibraryThing member beckyhaase
VOX by Christina Dalcher
The United States has been taken over in an election by seriously ultra conservative politicians. Laws have been passed restricting females to just 100 words per day and enforce this directive with punishing electric shocks for every word beyond the allotment. The novel
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starts with this interesting premise and then has a rather boring first 100 pages as we learn about the wife who is quite an acclaimed scientist and feminist but is married to a go-along, get-along politician husband high up in the conservative government.
The plot finally gets going when she is coerced by the government to restart her science project and discovers a sinister plot against women all over the world. The last two thirds of the book is an interesting and well plotted thriller.
Overall, readers who are looking for another “Handmaids Tale” will be disappointed. Readers looking for a thriller and make it through the first third will be pleased. The characters are clearly defined and remain in character for the entire book. The premise and resulting government action is full of holes but with a suspension of reality, the novel as a whole is satisfying.
3 of 5 stars
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LibraryThing member susan.h.schofield
4.5 stars - This was a fascinating novel that I could not put down despite the fact that it was very hard to read at times. It takes places in the extremely near future where the president is under the influence of the Pure movement - in the year since he took office all women are supposed to be at
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home, are no longer allowed to work and are limited to 100 words a day. All woman and female children have to wear counters that keep track of their words and girls are not even taught to read and write. The main character in the book is Dr. Jean McClellan who is a neurolinguist. She is called on by the president's advisers to work again when his brother suffers a brain trauma and she has the ability to develop the cure. Her husband, Patrick, works in the president's office as well. She makes some awful realizations while doing the work (I don't want to give anything away) and decides to fight back. It was interesting to see how her family dynamic shifted - her 17 year old son starts believing in the Pure movement and her 6 year daughter is proud of the fact when she has the lowest number on her counter in school. This book will definitely appeal to fans of The Handmaid's Tale. It will make you think and realize how easily something like this could happen. I received an ARC of this book from FirstToRead.
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LibraryThing member teachlz
My Review of "Vox" by Christina Dalcher Berkley, August 21, 2018

Christina Dalcher, Author of "VOX" has written an unusual, terrifying, intense, captivating, page turning, riveting, suspenseful and twisted thriller. The Genres for this story are Fiction, Thriller, Mystery and Suspense, and Political
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Satire. The timeline of the story is in the present and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters or events in this novel. The story takes place in the United States of America. (Believe it or not)

The Government and politics in place have some twisted rules, and everything seems to happen in the blink of an eye. The Women in this story are only allowed to speak 100 words a day. This is charted by an electronic bracelet that is placed on their wrists that tracks words and emits shocks.Very young girls also get the "band" and now go to school and are encouraged not to speak. The girls that say nothing get prizes. This leads to women being forced to stay home, and cook and clean, because they can't get jobs. There is no evidence of birth control, or condoms in stores.

The men are given important roles, and some are entitled to visit elite clubhouses, where there are prostitutes. Any infraction in this society by the religious groups in power are punished.

Dr. Jean McClellan can't believe that this is happening. She has been an expert on matters of the brain, strokes and aphasia. Now she and her four-year old daughter are limited to speaking 100 words a day. Her older teenage son questions her role in the home. It seems that the President's brother has had a terrible accident and they require Jean's assistance. What will she do for survival for her and her family?

There is a resistance, and the people you would least suspect are in it. But, how do you know how to trust anyone? The government is using the top scientists for some secret project. I would recommend this chilling thriller to readers that enjoy this genre. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
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LibraryThing member deslivres5
I felt angry throughout the reading of this novel: not angry at the book, but angry about the state affairs described in this dystopian society set in the USA where females can't work outside the home or have their own bank accounts, are sent to single-sex schools where they are only taught simple
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mathematics and home economics, are forced to wear bracelets which dole out a daily diet of only 100 words, prison camps for LGBTQ persons, incentives to marry young, etc., etc., etc.

The story is a bit chilling with parallels to present day society. Some of the timelines seem a bit far-fetched to me, some coincidences too pat and the resolutions at the end seem to occur too quickly. I would have liked to have had some more in-depth discussion of the other characters, both male and female, and their stories about what they did during the (1-year?) since the societal restrictions were put in place.
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LibraryThing member ecataldi
This was a hard read, it made me sick to my stomach and I had to put it down multiple times. Imagine the backstory to A Handmaid's Tale, and make it worse. That's what Vox was. I think this novel was so upsetting because women's rights are currently being stepped on and reversed and even though we
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may not thing it's a big deal, those small liberties can have a snowball effect. Vox didn't feel very dystopian to me, it felt like a warning. Vox imagines a world where women's rights are slowly stripped away until it's too late to do anything. The religious nut jobs have taken over the government and overnight the workforce is cut in half. Women only belong in the house as caretakers and nurturers. They aren't allowed to read (except the Bible), write, or do anything without their husbands. Most upsettingly they are limited to 100 words per day. Wrist counters keep track of all the words spoken and keep them in line. Men however, have complete and utter freedom. Dr. Jean McClellan and her daughter must suffer in silence while her husband and three sons can gab and laugh and talk, what would Jean do if she had a chance to upset the balance? Would she take it? Vox is an unforgettable, compelling thrill ride that will make your stomach roll and your heart shudder. It's a nightmare that everyone should read.
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LibraryThing member ChrisWay
Enjoyable and creepy.
LibraryThing member Verkruissen
When I saw this book compared to Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale", I knew I had to read it. This book was frightening and thrilling at the same time. Frightening because it really felt like what was going on in government in the story could have come straight from our current news. Thrilling
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because I really could not but this book down and finished it in two days. The story is about a time when all females have had the right of speaking limited to one hundred words a day. Every female no matter what their age has to wear a counter (bracelet), that keeps track of how many words a day they speak. If they go over the limit they get an electrical shock that gets stronger and stronger the more times they break the rule.
The main character is Dr. Jean McClellan, a renowned doctor who had been researching a cure to a disease that causes the brain to be unable to use the correct words when communicating. Now the president's brother supposedly has this and has offered Dr. McClellan the chance to get her voice back in exchange for finding the cure. But as she begins her research with her former team they find that what they could unleash something far more sinister.
This book was incredible. I cannot stop talking about this to my co-workers at the library. It is definitely one of my new favorite books!
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LibraryThing member busyreadin
What if you could only speak 100 words a day or receive a major electrical shock ? If you’re female in the world of Vox life is not what it used to be


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

352 p.; 5.49 inches


0440000815 / 9780440000815
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